5/21/2007 10:49:00 AM
Moto devices turnaround
Motorola has claimed that its new 'hero handsets' for 2007, led by the RAZR 2 and Z8, will help create a 'stronger focused' Motorola, after widespread criticism for a lack of new handsets in recent months.
Motorola's UK marketing manager, James King, admitted: 'From this standpoint, it has been difficult for Motorola. But the year is not over yet and we have come back with four very strong products.
From June onwards we will have a stronger-focused Motorola. I think we have done a good job in being able to go back to the market with these hero handsets.'
The RAZR 2, due to reach the UK in July, has 2GB of memory, a large two-inch external screen, two-megapixel camera and a metal finish. The phone has 'Crystal Talk' technology for call clarity and enabling voice messages to be read out automatically.
The RAZR 2 will be highlighted with a marketing campaign with endorsements by David Beckham and pop star Fergie. King said pricing for the handset would be set at 'mid-level'.
At 11.9mm thin, the RAZR 2 is thinner than the 13.7mm LG Shine, and 2mm thinner than the original RAZR. King said: 'In terms of strong design, there will always be competitors. By the time we launch the RAZR 2, the Shine will be months old. No-one does thin like we can. We are confident of consumer take-up.'
Motorola claimed it had reassessed its menus after criticism that its handsets are fiddly to use. King said: 'With the launch of the KRZR we started turning the tide in terms of consumers' understanding of the menus. It will take time but we are moving into an age with our menus that we are confident we can go head to head with other manufacturers.'
A V9 HSDPA version of the RAZR 2 will be available in September, and is likely to be in a red variant.
Neil Stewart, mobile devices marketing chief, said: 'People have been wondering what's next for Motorola. The answer is the RAZR 2. The design ethos and features have been taken to a new level.'
Stewart said the 'industry had jumped on the thin bandwagon but the product has to feel stronger… than some of the cheaper products out there.'
Motorola's multimedia phone, the Z8, the world's first kick-slider (with sliding and bending action), will debut in the UK in the week of 4 June with a £5m marketing campaign. 'It is the biggest push of the year,' said King.
The ROKR Z6, Motorola's new Linux/Java music handset, will also launch in June. Its 2GB of memory enables storage of up to 1,000 songs. Motorola has teamed up with digital music provider Napster, allowing users free access to Napster's collection of music and content on handsets including the Z6.
The MOTO Q9 smartphone, with Windows Mobile 6, Bluetooth and two-megapixel camera, has launched in Italy with further rollout expected in the coming months. A Q8 GSM version will also be available.